17 October 2007

For All Eternity

What if you could live forever?

Would you choose to live forever if you were offered the chance? Or would you rather live just up to a certain amount of time and then die, ceasing to exist?

I watched a rather philosophical movie yesterday, entitled The Fountain. It was a fantasy film about two lovers who loved each other in different periods, one from the era of the Conquistadors, where Hugh Jackman was a conquistador and Rachel Weisz was Queen Isabella. The other period was the modern-day period, where Hugh was an oncologist, and Rachel was his wife, sick with brain cancer. And finally, the other period was in the far future, where Hugh was an astronaut in a bubble-like vehicle traveling to this Nebula, which the ancient Mayans consider Xibalba.

All three periods had both of them wanting to live forever one way or the other: Tomas the conquistador searching for the tree of life in the Guatemalan jungle; Tommy Creo doing research in rhesus monkeys trying to find cure for death and dying; and the astronomer Tom traveling with the tree of life hoping that the tree wouldn't die before they reach Xibalba.

If you have someone to live for, I guess you would want to live forever. Like Tom and Izzi.

But "forever" is such a long time.

It is interesting to see how plenty of different methods in prolonging life were tried by different people in different ages. People tried alchemy, concocting different cocktails of elixirs and drinking them trying to find everlasting life, only to be poisoned by mercury. People tried to find the "Holy Grail", hoping that the water that was drunk using that cup would also give them everlasting life. And people also sought to find the tree of life, hoping to drink the sap of it, in hopes of again, gaining everlasting life.

Is it really that attractive? Is living forever really that appealing that people were willing to conquer lands for it, that people were willing to surrender their lives for their kings and queens for it, that people were willing to give up everything else for it?

(Facing the statue, from my La Virgen de Quito Series)

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